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Terms of Business
I understand that you require me to maintain your bookkeeping and accounts records, as follows:
- Keep the records of receipts and payments;
- Reconcile the balances monthly with the bank statements;
- Post and balance the purchase and sales ledgers;
- Write up your accounting records;
- Complete the postings to the nominal ledger;
To enable me to carry out your work and to do so efficiently, you agree to provide me with unrestricted access to the following documents and information necessary for dealing with your affairs (I will rely on the information and documents being true, correct and complete and will not audit the information or those documents):
- Copies of basic documents reflecting your financial transactions, including cheque stubs, summaries of cash receipts and sales (cash and card), bank statements and cancelled cheques, supplier invoices, sales invoices, listings of accounts receivable and accounts payable, and documentary support of property and equipment transactions-purchases, trades, sales, etc;
- Information concerning any mortgage or pledge of business assets on business debts, any personal guarantees or debt, leases, or other information that effects or may effect the results of operations of the business;
- Any other financial information necessary for the purpose of reflection on your accounting records and trial balance;
- Identification of all cash receipts as to source (i.e., loans, sales, disposals of assets etc.), and information concerning all transactions that are consummated with cash.
Any failure to provide such documents and information on a timely basis will impede my services. You agree to accept responsibility for any effect on your accounting records, due to documents not submitted to me for processing and entry, or losses that may result from their absence, or untimely presentation. I am authorised by you to approach such third parties as may be appropriate for information that I consider necessary to deal with your affairs.
You are responsible for authorising transactions, and for retaining supporting documentation for those transactions. Furthermore, you are responsible for management decisions and functions, and for evaluating the adequacy and results of the services I provide. As business conditions change, we may mutually agree to change or modify this arrangement. I would emphasise that I cannot undertake to discover any shortcomings in your systems or any irregularities on the part of your employees, although I will advise you of any such apparent circumstances that I encounter in preparing your accounts.
Payroll and HMRC Returns
If required, I will maintain your payroll records, supply you with completed payslips for you to pass to employees, and supply you with details of amounts to be paid to HM Revenue & Customs for the PAYE and National Insurance Contributions.
In order for me to prepare your payroll and HMRC returns I will require the following information from you:
- Personal details of all employees (i.e. name, NI number, home address, and the data required by HMRC to file payroll returns online which is known as Real Time Information (RTI)).
- All P45s, or equivalent, received by you.
- If any casual labour is taken on, you are required to operate P46, or equivalent, procedures. Completed forms should be passed to me for processing.
- Notification within two weeks of any employee who is ill for four or more calendar days, including weekends, bank holidays etc. This will enable me to operate statutory sick pay for you.
- Notification of any employee, who adopts, becomes pregnant or whose partner adopts or becomes pregnant. This will enable me to operate statutory adoption, maternity and paternity pay.
- Details of any money or benefits made available to employees by you or by a third party through you.
- Hours worked, rates of pay, bonuses etc.
- Notification of employees engaged by you or leaving your employment.
- Any notice of coding received by you.
Under the Real Time Information (RTI) system introduced in April 2013, HM Revenue & Customs require that the end of period payroll returns must be received by HMRC on or before pay day otherwise significant penalties may be levied. There may also be interest payable if income tax and National Insurance contributions payments, due each month or quarter are late or less than indicated by the return. Only the information provided for the payroll will be reported to HMRC.
I will assist in the preparation and submission of PAYE returns as required by the authorities concerned. However, it should be understood that my appointment as your agent does not absolve the company or its directors from their statutory responsibilities. I would draw your attention to the strict rules and time limits for the submission of such returns and the substantial penalties which may arise if these are not observed. It is therefore essential that I receive full information from you promptly to enable me to ensure that the returns are made on a timely basis. Completed returns will be submitted in accordance with HMRC requirements unless you undertake to submit these yourself. It should be understood that my appointment as your agent does not absolve the company or its directors from their statutory responsibilities.
You may wish me to be responsible for operating the Construction Industry Scheme for the subcontractors you engage. In order for me to do this, your company and myself will need to comply with the Employer's Guide to PAYE, and HMRC Notice CIS340 (copy available on request).
I will require the following information from you:
- Confirmation that you have checked the subcontractor employment status, by using HMRC Employment Status Indicator tool where there is any doubt as to their status. This obviously won't apply to subcontractors who are Companies.
- You have obtained their Unique Tax Reference, National Insurance number, or company Registration details.
- You have obtained their taxable status from HMRC, and noted the verification number given to you by HMRC.
- You will supply each paid subcontractor with a payment and deduction statement which includes all points required by HMRC (see HMRC CIS340 Appendix E for an example).
- If completing a paper return you must sign to say you understand your obligations every month. If filing returns online, I will assume that you have understood your obligations, when providing me with the information above.
- If you are unclear on any of these points, please discuss this with me ASAP.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
You have asked me to undertake the completion of your VAT returns. I cannot be held responsible for any penalties or default surcharges arising from the late submission of VAT returns. However, I will endeavour to meet the relevant deadlines if I have access to all the company's VAT records. You have undertaken that you/your staff will ensure that:
- Valid VAT invoices are received for all payments where VAT is being reclaimed;
- I am notified of any positive-rated own consumption (i.e. stock taken for personal use);
- Any input VAT on non-business expenditure is clearly marked on supporting invoices;
- I am notified each quarter of any payments to or for the benefit of directors or staff for fuel used for private mileage, together with the business mileage for each such person, for each quarter;
- All supplies made by the business are shown in the records made available to me.
It should be understood that my appointment as your agent does not absolve the company or its directors from their statutory responsibilities.
I understand that you require me to prepare periodic Management Accounts for your business. This involves me completing the writing up of your books and records, insofar as they are incomplete when presented to me, from the information and explanations supplied to me and preparing draft accounts therefrom for your approval. I understand that you have agreed that I will be responsible for:
- Maintaining records of all receipts and payments of cash;
- Reconciling cash book balances with the bank statements;
- Reviewing and balancing the purchase and sales ledgers;
- Extracting a detailed list of ledger balances.
- Preparing management reports as required by you.
Where applicable, you will also provide estimates of any stocks at the end of each period, and any details of work-in-progress at the accounting date and make available to me the documents and other information from which the statement is compiled. The Management Accounts are not suitable for submission with the self-assessment tax return, or for summary thereon.
Note. I will not audit or review your financial statements or any other accounting documents and information you provide, in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, nor will I otherwise verify the data you submit for accuracy or completeness (Please discuss any Audit requirements with your Statutory Auditor). Accordingly, I will not verify the assets and liabilities of the business, nor the items of expenditure and income, and I ask that you not in any manner refer to your Management Accounts as an audit or review. In addition, I have no responsibility to identify and communicate significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in your internal controls as part of this engagement, and our engagement cannot, therefore be relied upon to make disclosure of such matters. Neither can our engagement be relied upon to disclose errors, fraud, or other illegal acts that may exist. However, it may be necessary to ask you for clarification of some of the information you provide, and I will inform you of any material errors, fraud or other illegal acts that come to my attention.
The Management Accounts are prepared solely for confidential use by you, and must not be recited or referred to in whole or in part in any other document. The Management Accounts must not be made available, copied or recited to any other party without my express permission. I neither owe nor accept any duty to any other party and shall not be liable for any loss, damage or expense of whatsoever nature, including indirect or consequential loss, damage or expense, which is caused by their reliance on the management accounts.
There are many other areas where I can be of assistance and I shall be pleased to discuss any matters with you. Some of these other services include:
- Management Accounting, including such matters as cash flow statements, costing systems, budget & variance analysis, etc;
- Administration as required, including creating and writing procedures and designing systems for organisation;
- Interviewing & training staff in accounting principles. Monitoring & encouraging trainees, and providing advice & feedback.
- Sage package support and training staff members, assistance with reports, layouts, templates, etc.
If you decide you would like me to do any other work for you, please feel free to discuss any requirements you may have, and I will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.
Money laundering legislation
All accountants must comply with onerous duties imposed by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (the "Anti Money Laundering Legislation"), which are intended to inhibit the activities of terrorists and other criminals by denying them access to technical expertise. If I fail to perform these duties, I risk imprisonment.
Before I accept your instructions, I may need to obtain 'satisfactory evidence' to confirm your identity and I may be required to maintain records of identification evidence throughout the period of our engagement. In certain circumstances, I may need to obtain evidence confirming the identities of third parties, the source of any funds or other property, the purpose of any instructions or any other matter. I may also need to obtain such evidence after I have begun to act on your instructions.
I assume that my clients are honest and law abiding. However, if at any time, there appear to be grounds to suspect (even if I do not actually suspect) that your instructions relate to 'criminal property', I am obliged to make a report to the National Criminal Intelligence Service ("NCIS"), but I am prohibited from telling you that I have done so. In such circumstances, I must not act on your instructions without consent from NCIS. If NCIS do not refuse consent within 7 working days I may continue to act. If NCIS issue a refusal within that time, I must not act for a further 31 days from the date of the refusal. 'Criminal property' is property in any legal form, whether money, real property, rights or any benefit derived from criminal activity. It does not matter who carried out the criminal activity or how removed the property is from the original crime. Even if you are honest in your dealings, if your property represents a benefit from someone else's crime, I must still make a report. Activity is considered 'criminal' if it is a crime under UK law, no matter how trivial, and whether carried out in the UK or abroad. For example, tax evasion is a criminal offence but an honest mistake is not.
My fees take into account the costs incurred to enable me to provide my services to you, and the degree of responsibility, training, and skill involved in providing you with these services. If it is necessary to carry out work outside the responsibilities outlined in this letter it will involve additional fees. During the course of the year there may be periods of greater activity followed by periods when relatively little work has to be done and my aim is to adopt an informative approach so that at all times you are aware of the costs that you are incurring in the year.
My fees and costs will be billed monthly at an hourly rate and are payable upon receipt. (Rates vary according to the type of work completed - Please contact me for further details). My rate is subject to a review each April and I reserve the right to increase my fees subject to prior notice by at least inflation on an annual basis. Invoices that are still unpaid 30 days past the billing date may be deemed delinquent, and I reserve the right to add an interest charge at a rate of 2% per month simple interest together with any solicitors and/or collection agent's costs incurred on any bills remaining unpaid 30 days after presentation. I reserve the right to suspend my services or to withdraw from this engagement - if you fail to make any payment when and as it falls due. The Directors of the company agree that they jointly and separately guarantee personally that all fees will be paid within the payment terms.
If I elect to terminate my services for non-payment, or for any other reason provided for in this letter, our engagement will be deemed to have been completed upon written notification of termination. You will be obligated to compensate me through to the date of termination.
You agree to indemnify, defend me, and hold me harmless against any amounts that I become obligated to pay including (but not limited to) any judgment, fine, penalty, or similar award or sanction; any amounts paid in settlement; and/or any costs incurred, as a result of a claim, investigation, or other proceeding instituted by any third party, including any governmental or quasi-governmental body, except to the extent that such amounts arise from my negligence or failure on my part to materially comply with relevant professional standards.
I am committed to, and proud of providing a high standard of customer service. If you have any suggestions as to how my service to you could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please let me know. In the event that you have a complaint, I will look into this carefully and promptly and do all I can to explain the position to you or address your concerns. If you feel that I have given you a less than satisfactory service, I undertake to do everything reasonable to address your concerns.
Where you give me confidential information I shall at all times keep it confidential, except as required by law or as provided for in regulatory, ethical or other professional pronouncements applicable to this engagement. I reserve the right to act during this engagement for other clients whose interests may be adverse to yours. I will notify you immediately should I become aware of any conflict of interest to which I am subject to in relation to you.
Limitation of Liability
I will provide my professional services with reasonable care and skill. However, I will not be held responsible for any losses, including indirect or consequential losses, arising from the supply by you or others of incorrect or incomplete information, or your or others' failure to supply any appropriate information or your failure to act on my advice or respond promptly to communications from me or other relevant authorities.
Internet communications are capable of data corruption and therefore I do not accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after their dispatch. It may therefore be inappropriate to rely on advice contained in an e-mail without obtaining written confirmation of it. I do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise through the use of internet communication and all risks connected with sending commercially sensitive information relating to your business are borne by you. If you do not agree to accept this risk, you should notify me in writing that e-mail is not an acceptable means of communication. It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out a virus check on any attachments received.